Honestly, what’s wrong with these people? I’m sitting on the balcony of a condo in Destin, Florida. The sun is up, and it looks like another beautiful day in paradise. From my 5th floor perch, I notice an endless stream of runners who are trying to get in their exercise before the heat of the day becomes too much for them. At last count, I saw about 12 of them running by this morning. What has always bothered me about runners is that they all look so freakin’ miserable. Poster Children for Physical Fitness? I think not!

Think back, have you ever seen a runner who actually looked like she was having a good time? To me, they all look like they’re on the verge of a heart attack or they’re having some sort of physical breakdown. I’m reminded of Stephen King’s short story The Long Walk. It was a precursor to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. Contestants walked as far as they possibly could and the winner received fame, fortune, and food for life. The losers are all shot when their pace falls below a certain speed. Lovely. And, like The Hunger Games, The Long Walk was being broadcast LIVE! Sounds like Must See TV in the Stephen King Universe! In my mind, the contestants in The Long Walk all look like your average runner. They all have that wild look in their eyes that seems to say, “Remind me again, why am I doing this?”

My wife and I are walkers or bike riders. When we are down here in Florida, we like to take a morning walk so we can enjoy the palm trees and the beach. We say, “Hi” to our fellow walkers heading in the other direction. It’s hard to say, “Hi” to a runner, who has his headphones on, and looks like he’s having an aneurysm. In my opinion, the only time you should be running is if you’re being chased by a 300-pound lineman, trying to get away from a natural disaster, or Jason is behind you with a chainsaw! When a runner passes away, I wonder if they bury him in his running clothes, with that pained look on his face. As if to say, “Hey, I’m dead! But don’t I look good?” No, you really don’t. To each, his own. I’m sure I don’t look like I’m having a ball on the elliptical at the gym either. So, run on runners. Just remember, Father Time catches up with all of us in the end.

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